The Academy Awards are Sunday night, and I continued my tradition of seeing all the Best Picture nominees before the show, which means cramming a lot of movies into February. Thanks goodness there were no insufferable nominees (think: Saving Private Ryan) this year. Here, in my cinematically uneducated style, is how I would rank this year's choices, from "Most deserving to win the Best Picture Oscar" to "Lesser deserving."
1. Hugo. Okay, call me sappy, but I think this is a terrific movie, 3D or not. Martin Scorcese shows that he is a superior director no matter what kind of movie he makes.
2. The Artist. I admit that I've gone back and forth on this, and maybe tomorrow I would have picked The Artist as #1. It's the most innovative of the nine nomineees, and it showed that a silent, black-and-white film can be very entertaining in the 21st Century. The dog steals the movie.
3. Midnight in Paris. If you don't know who Hemingway and Fitzgerald and the other writers and artists in 1920s Paris were, you might be lost, but I hope that my blog readers do know who they were. Woody Allen should get a Best Screenplay award.
4. The Help. Good book, good movie, my main complaint being that some of the characterizations, especially those of the white bigots, are just too cardboard, too stereotypical. Octavia Spencer will win Best Supporting Actress.
5. The Descendents. This is a fine, solid movie, and with Hawaii and George Clooney, how can you go wrong? Overall, though, I don't think it's a remarkable enough film to be a Best Picture.
6. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I liked this film way more than I thought I would. I think it would have been better with an actor other than Tom Hanks as the dad who dies on 9/11 -- he just never stopped being Tom Hanks.
7. Moneyball. Baseball, the Oakland A's with a tiny payroll, Brad Pitt. It's a fun David-vs.-Goliath flick.
8. War Horse. Spielberg, please stop using that uplifting, manipulating John Williams music in your films! It's so distracting and irritating! Very real-feeling World-War-1-in-the-trenches scenes. Loved the horse.
9. The Tree of Life. It's one of those movies where you get to the end and say to yourself, "What the heck was that about??" It maybe deserves a Best Cinematography award, though.
That's it from here. Please watch the show Sunday night so that I have somebody to chat with next Monday. It's okay to skip the red-carpet pre-show though, which gets more annoying by the year.